A single-story, 956-square-foot home built in the 1930s was the focus of an hour-long public hearing Monday in Augusta, where residents peppered members of the Augusta Planning and Zoning Commission with questions about how the property would be redeveloped if a proposed rezoning request is approved by the town board next month. 

The property, which is currently zoned for single-family residential, was recently purchased by the Hoffmann Family of Companies’ subsidiary, 233 Jackson Street, LLC. 

The Hoffmann Family of Companies is led by David and Jerri Hoffmann, Washington natives who last year announced they were investing $150 million into Augusta in hopes of transforming the rural community into a national wine-based tourism destination similar to Napa Valley. 

The Hoffmanns plan to convert the single-family dwelling at 233 Jackson St. into either a rental property or utilize the space for an office, which would require commercial zoning. 

To date, the Hoffmanns have acquired numerous residential and commercial properties in and around Augusta, including four wineries and five vineyards that span 1,250 acres. 

The couple also has plans to build a 12-hole championship-caliber golf course and a luxury hotel, known as the Hoffmann Lodge in Augusta, which will have a conference center. 

They are also renovating portions of the Emmaus Homes campus in rural Marthasville, where they plan to open a boutique hotel. The Hoffmanns also have launched a luxury yacht, the Miss Augusta, which is available for private dinner cruises and outings. 

The company also provides horse and carriage rides, vineyard and winery tours, and is revitalizing over a dozen buildings in downtown Augusta, where it has opened the Augusta Emporium and Kickstand Augusta. The company’s website lists two additional businesses it plans to open, Augusta Clothing Co. and the Augusta Guest Collection. These businesses are in addition to the other attractions the couple have planned for in Augusta. 

Through these businesses, the Hoffmanns said their investment will create 500 jobs in the area and that number will likely grow to more than 1,000 jobs as the company makes additional business and property acquisitions over the next three years.

In Washington, the Hoffmanns have purchased NOA Medical and Mid-American Coaches. They also have expressed interest in buying Missouri Meerschaum Co. and its historic corn cob pipe production facility near the city’s riverfront. 

“Now that the Hoffmanns are here, there are some fears that everything is going to change,” said Bob Hofer, chair of the town board. Monday night’s meeting came on the heels of a discussion about implementing a six-month moratorium on new short-term rentals opening in Augusta. The proposed moratorium will go before the town board next month. 

The moratorium is needed, supporters say, because out-of-town investors are scooping up Augusta properties and turning single-family homes into short-term rentals, like Airbnbs. 

Hedrick and other members of the public quizzed the commission about parking regulations, tax implications, potential uses of the Jackson Street building, the town’s comprehensive long-range plan, and the longterm implications of rezoning the property. A copy of the city’s long-range plan is available at the Augusta Library, a branch of the St. Charles County Library system. 

Bryan Cavanaugh, who chairs the zoning commission, said he was unsure on specific details about how the Hoffmanns would use the space. 

A second public hearing regarding the property is set for Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the town hall. 

Representatives of the Hoffmann Family of Companies said Tuesday that Don Simon, CEO of Missouri Operations, will be in attendance at the next meeting. 

Following the Jan. 24 meeting, the five-member commission will vote on the zoning request. The Augusta Town Board will then vote on the request in February. 

An unofficial straw poll of attendees at the meeting conducted by members of the zoning commission found that the 10-person audience was nearly unequivocally opposed to the rezoning request. No one at Monday’s meeting spoke in favor of the rezoning request. 

“If it stays as a residence, then there is a chance that a family could live there,” said Trisha Hedrick. “That’s what Augusta needs — it needs people living in houses.”